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Top 100 : 2006
100 TOP Douglas Rathbone, 60 Managing Director and CEO of Nufarm, Melbourne Doug Rathbone has led Nufarm for more than two decades developing the company into one of the world’s leading crop protection manufacturers. With operations in Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Asia and the Americas, Nufarm has a staff of nearly 2500, and last year generated sales revenue of nearly $1.7 billion. Nufarm’s latest acquisitions of two canola seed businesses earlier this year expanded the company’s seed operations which, according to Rathbone, is a “logical extension” of the company’s crop protection operations. The past year saw Nufarm develop a much stronger presence in South America, via its 50% owned Agripec operations in Brazil and an acquisition in Colombia. South America is an increasingly important region for agriculture and Rathbone believes the mid- to longterm growth opportunities are substantial. This is balanced against an increased degree of volatility associated with earnings from Nufarm’s South American businesses, due to regional issues such as currency movement and local economic conditions. Rathbone is a chemical engineer from Melbourne University. He has a number of interests outside Nufarm. He is president of the Children’s Cancer Centre Foundation at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, of which Nufarm is a key supporter, and he also maintains a strong interest in the family wine business. Julian Segal, 51 Managing Director and CEO, Incitec Pivot, Melbourne A chemical engineer, Julian Segal has been managing director of listed fertiliser supplier Incitec Pivot since June last year. In the past 12 months he has been overseeing a number of major 38 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA JUNE 2006 30-38 g- industry 38 6/1/06, 8:29 PM changes. When he took over his job, coming from a senior position with Orica, the company was undergoing a restructuring program to cut costs. Once that program began bearing fruit, he started looking for growth opportunities. As a result the company last month announced the purchase of Southern Cross Fertilisers, Australia’s only producer of ammonium phosphate fertilisers, from BHP Billiton. Last month also saw Orica, which was the major shareholder at 70% of shares, sell the bulk of its shareholding in Incitec Pivot. With shareholders’ approval, Incitec Pivot will buy back Orica’s remaining 13.5% holding in July. Incitec Pivot believes the broadened shareholder base will give it more flexibility to respond quickly to new business opportunities. Incitec Pivot supplies more than 50% of Australia’s fertiliser needs, last year generating sales revenue of about $1 billion. A major achievement for Segal in his first 12 months in the job has been turning the business around to the point where it announced a 60% increase in underlying profit for the first half of the company’s financial year. Segal graduated from the Israel Institute of Technology at Haifa. In his leisure time he likes running. How- ever, as he recently broke his leg, for the next few months he will be confined to listening to music. Else Shepherd, 62 Chair of Powerlink Queensland, Brisbane Else Shepherd is one of only few female engineers, if not the only one, heading a large Australian corporation. She has been chair of Powerlink Queensland since 1994. The Queensland government corporation owns, develops, operates and maintains the state’s high-voltage electricity transmission network. The $3.5 billion network extends 1700km from north of Cairns to the NSW border. The company’s capital program for the next five years is in the order of $500 million per annum. Shepherd said a major challenge for Powerlink is delivering transmission services fast enough to match Queensland’s rapid growth. Shepherd has also created and led two high-tech development companies – Mosaic Information Technology and Microwave & Materials Designs. The first develops telecommunications products using digital signal processing and the second develops microwave products using high-temperature superconducting materials. Shepherd said a highlight for Microwave & Materials Designs in the past year was appointing a new CEO, attracting investment and winning an R&D Start grant. Shepherd is an electrical engineer from the University of Queensland. She also has a graduate diploma in music from the Queensland Conservatorium. Music is one of her main activities outside work. A trained pianist and conductor, she founded and has directed Diversions, a Brisbane community choir, for 20 years. Roger Trundle, 50 Managing Director of Thiess, Brisbane Civil engineer Roger Trundle was appointed managing director of Thiess in November 2000. Under Trundle’s leadership the company has experienced significant growth with turnover this year expected to reach $4.5billion with over 16,000 direct employees. Current major projects include EastLink in Victoria, Lane Cove Tunnel and EppingChatswood Rail Line in New South Wales and SEQIP Rail Alliance in Queensland. The company is exploring further options to expand the business including recently establishing operations in India. He said the continued high performance and growth of Thiess has been a major highlight in his job in the past year. A major challenge on the other hand has been ensuring that the company has sufficient qualified and motivated staff to meet its needs. “Comprehensive recruitment, training and development, and retention initiatives have been further enhanced to help cater for our needs,” he said. Trundle has a bachelor of engineering (civil) from the University of Queensland and has completed postgraduate management studies at the Queensland University of Technology and Harvard University. ■ industry